PHOENIX -- Braves left fielder Justin Upton returned to the scene of some of his greatest ballgames on Friday night as his club opened a three-game series against the D-back at Chase Field.
Upton, the former D-backs right fielder, returned to spend the weekend in his newly completed home in nearby Scottsdale and see some of his old friends in the other clubhouse. The team, though, has undergone a vast turnover since Upton was traded to Atlanta in a six-player deal on Jan. 24, 2013.
He was a top D-backs pick, first overall, in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft and played his first six seasons in Arizona.
"This is very cool," Upton said before the game. "I get to see some of the guys I played with and play in a stadium I'm obviously comfortable playing in. Obviously there are a few different faces, but there still are a few guys who are good to see. But that's the game of baseball. It seems like so long ago already. I've played a full season over here and we're almost halfway through this one.
"It's obviously a different feeling. Over here, it's nice. We have a good clubhouse, a lot of good guys. We're playing good baseball."
Since National League East teams usually only play in Arizona once a year, this is only the second time Upton has played here since the big trade that sent him and Chris Johnson to Atlanta in exchange for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and a pair of Minor Leaguers on Jan. 24, 2013.
In his first game back on May 13, 2013, Upton went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, scored twice and drove in two runs. The Braves won, 10-1. He's a .308 lifetime hitter with 68 homers and 221 RBIs at Chase Field.
Upton has been on a tear of late, hitting .345 (20-for-58) in his last 15 games. But his home-road splits this year are astounding. He's hitting .380 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 31 games at Turner Field and .194 with three homers and seven RBIs in 24 games on the road. Perhaps that will all change this weekend at Chase Field.
"I hope so," Upton said.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.